Big-hearted Pender volunteers working on Thieves Bay Marina

June 8, 2016

With people increasingly living to older ages, volunteerism is on the rise. It can be at the expense of paid work which seems to always be decreasing.

On the Gulf Islands, it seems there are even more volunteers than anywhere else. Some volunteer five or more days a week for as many different organizations.

Here is an article about an unusual volunteer project:

Gulf Islands Driftwood: Penders Edition
Wednesday, May 24, 2000
Big-hearted Pender volunteers working on Thieves Bay Marina
by Tanya Lester

The Thieves Bay Marina construction is one of many examples of Pender residents’ do-it-yourself mentality and big hearts when it comes to volunteerism.

When finished, it will provide homes for the growing number of boats on the Magic Lake Property Owners Society waiting list.

With is second phase to be completed by June, the current marina project began two years ago when volunteers ripped out the old 1960s dock, said project manager Brian Starkey.

They replaced it with a 200-foot “C” dock, including 16 boat fingers.

The approximately 40 men and one woman started the project’s second phase in late March. They have almost completed two 100 foot D and E docks with 35 boat fingers.

Next year, the project will be finished when a 150-foot dock with seven fingers for smaller boats is done.

The Thieves Bay Marina construction is only one of the projects that has spurred Magic Lake Property Owners Society volunteers to roll up their sleeves over the years.

Starkey said volunteers have worked for up to 30 years on a range of projects from building tennis courts to developing parks on vacant lots.

Phil King is the oldest member.

Those who give of their time span from ex-loggers to retired doctors.

Starkey himself is a former navy engineer.

He approves of the idea put to the North Pender Island Fire Protection Society to construct the new fire hall by utilizing volunteer labour.

“Why pay $1 million for contractors’ fees?” Starkey asked.

Building a fire hall is less complicated than constructing docks for which changing tides have to be considered, he added.

When asked why Penderites enjoy volunteerism so much, Starkey replied, “I think it’s the self-satisfaction of seeing your money go to work and not having to pay a contractor.”

The fellowship that develops is also an important factor, he said.


For more on Tanya as an author, a psychic reader and a house sitter, go; pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google or contact her directly at or 250-538-0086.

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